Xi Visits 'Dear Friend' Putin

Blinken says 'world should not be fooled' by peace proposal freezing Russian gains in place
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2023 12:58 PM CDT
Xi Visits 'Dear Friend' Putin
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin pose for a photo during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Monday, March 20, 2023.   (Sergei Karpukhin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed his Chinese counterpart to Moscow on Monday, calling Xi Jinping a "dear friend" at the start of a visit seen as a show of support for Putin as his war in Ukraine grinds on. Xi praised Putin's "strong leadership" and credited it with Russia's "significant success in reaching prosperity," the BBC reports. This is Xi's first visit to Russia in four years and talks, both formal and informal, are scheduled for three days. He had a one-on-one with Putin at the Kremlin ahead of a state dinner, with formal talks planned for tomorrow. More:

  • Putin praises Ukraine plan. The Russian leader said he welcomed China's proposal for a political settlement in Ukraine, the AP reports. "We will discuss all those issues, including your initiative that we highly respect," Putin said. "Our cooperation in the international arena undoubtedly helps strengthen the basic principles of the global order and multipolarity."

  • A win for Putin's "anti-US world order." Analysts see the visit as a big win for Putin's efforts to portray the Ukraine war as the beginning of a new "post-American" world order, with Beijing working with Moscow to counter the US, the Washington Post reports. "The grim outlook in China is that we are entering this era of confrontation with the US, the gloves are off, and Russia is an asset and a partner in this struggle," says Alexander Gabuev, at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
  • An awkward moment. The New York Times reports that there was an awkward moment when Xi said he was confident that people would support Putin in elections next year. Putin, however, hasn't declared his candidacy. Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said people shouldn't assume Xi has knowledge of Putin's plans. "You heard him wrong, Xi Jinping is sure that in a year the Russians will support Vladimir Putin," Peskov said. "And here one can only share Xi Jinping’s confidence."
  • "The world should not be fooled." Secretary of State Anthony Blinken warned Monday that "the world should not be fooled" by a Russian-Chinese peace plan that would "freeze" Russian territorial gains in place, reports Bloomberg. The US announced another $350 million in military aid to Ukraine Monday.
  • Ukraine urges China to help end war. As Xi arrived in Moscow, a spokesman for Ukraine's foreign ministry said Kyiv is following the visit closely, Al Jazeera reports. "We expect Beijing to use its influence on Moscow to make it put an end to the aggressive war against Ukraine," Oleg Nikolenko said. He said any peace deal must include a full withdrawal of Russian troops.
  • What's on the menu. The Guardian reports that the leaders will be served "a seven-course meal of mainly Russian food, including nelma (fish) from the Pechora River in northern Russia, a traditional Russian seafood soup and pancakes with quail, with Russian wine to accompany the food" at Monday night's state dinner.
(More Russia stories.)

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